Beginning My Internship at DCU

I have officially completed the first week of my internship at Dublin City University Business School. My job is slightly different than what I anticipated, as my main task is to read articles from the Irish Times Newspaper archive that stretches back to the 1850s, and search for articles that pertain to government fraud. This is done by utilizing the databases advanced search feature, and searching for specific keywords such as “fraud,” “corrupt,” “bribe,” and “graft” in a particular year. We have started with the most recent year, 2018, and are working our way backwards. My two intern co workers began with the years 2018 and 2017, and I began with 2016. However, even when limiting the search to those terms, there are still well over 1,000 articles that appear in the year 2016, and I have to read them to identify whether or not there is truly government or garda (Irish police) fraud occurring in the story. All of the headlines for the articles are exported into a Microsoft Excel document, where I then created columns that are coded with a zero if no fraud occurred in the article, or a one if fraud did occur. If fraud did occur, there are additional columns that need to be coded which include whether the fraud occurred in Dublin, whether the fraud was petty or grand, whether the fraud involved the garda, whether the person committing the fraud was elected or appointed, and whether the fraud occurred at a national or local level. I have only been working on this task Thursday and Friday, as on Tuesday and Wednesday I did not yet have access to the Irish Times Database under my DCU account. Tuesday was spent meeting my boss and fellow interns and getting our ID cards and Wi-Fi set up. After that my boss, an economics professor at the university, was kind enough to treat us to lunch and let us head home early. On Wednesday I researched  the relationship between corruption and natural disaster and found many scholarly articles that did find correlation between the two. The majority of my time in the coming weeks will be spent building up the fraud database of articles, and it will certainly be a lengthy process. I am about 150 articles away from inspecting all the relevant articles in the year 2016, and then I will repeat the same process over for another year (likely 2013).

So far I am not having too much trouble managing my time at work. I arrive to work every morning by 9:30 am, and my commute is quite easy as Shanowen Square is less than a ten minute walk from the DCU Business School. My boss has not set very strict guidelines on how many articles he needs me to read and code per day, as the amount of time for article varies greatly. More emphasis is place on ensuring that my work is accurate than getting through the articles as quickly as possible, which makes sense as inaccurate data can corrupt the entire model of what we are trying to build. Some articles are clearly not relevant to government fraud just by reading the headline, and others need to be read all the way through to get a sense on whether or not government fraud is occurring. I was honestly very surprised by how laid back the work environment is, as I am permitted to take short breaks at my own discretion throughout the day to get tea or water and I am allowed a one hour lunch break at the time of my choosing. For lunch I have generally been eating at the cafeteria on DCU’s campus, where the food is far better than any school cafeteria or dining hall I have experienced in the states. I am thankful that so far the work environment I have been placed in is fairly stress free. Additionally, I am encouraged to talk to my two intern co-workers, and we ask each other questions when we are unsure as to whether or not an article should be classified as government fraud. It is great to be in an environment where I am able to rely on other who are all working towards the same common goal as myself. I get out of work around 5:00 pm every day, and honestly I am adjusting more to the balance of managing my time outside of work more than I am struggling with managing my time at work. My classes during the school year do not take up quite as much time as work does, so I do have a bit less free time. So far I have been going to the gym to lift every day after work, which takes at least an hour, and then coming home to cook dinner. I have been cooking a lot more in Dublin than I had been at Pitt, as there are not a lot of restaurants within close walking distance. I am sure I will get better at finding time to relax and unwind at night. I am looking forward to the week ahead of me.